Monday, December 21, 2009

The fleeting taste of the first


There is no shortage in science and the internet on how to explain what love is. Biological? Astrological? Spiritual?

One thing for sure that cannot be beaten is the first taste of falling in love, over and over again. Sometimes, some people just fall in love over and over again, leaving a whole truckload of a dumping ground. The taste? Sweet, like a local fruit that you savour on your tongue lilting its flesh underneath your teeth. At times it is like a dark chocolate melting slowly pushing you to orgasmic pleasure. Then comes the kids and then the romance wanes and is replaced by friendship. When they say there's no such thing as love - it's true.

But I ain't tellin you that, you gotta find it out for yourself. And then there's the idea of love, my idea of love is definitely not like yours. My idea of it is full of passion and romance and it's cliches. I love it, my fantasies end until the point where he tells me he's madly in love with me, then my fantasy ends. When it ends I'll make up a new one, a new man in my head comprising of any guy that catches my fancy, good enough only for me.

But friendship is also love, more valuable than the passion and the romance. It is after all fleeting. The love you get after the children are around I suppose is the most worth of anything else. But other than that I'll keep my fantasies and my pillow boyfriends ;)



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stay at home mothers - I salute

Given that in the West ideas of motherhood are relatively different than here in the East (I have a full-time nanny, and a housemaid, also full-time)I'd like to expound on my own academic thesis concerning the family process. In the West especially among middle-class white families, to live in the same house as their parents is unheard of, here in the East I stay with my large family in a relatively middle class environment, my parents are divorced and the people living in my house is my three kids, my husband, my father, my three siblings, my cousin and my maids. It's pretty noisy, sometimes there are moments of privacy of course but something that is quite different than that in the West's conception of the home and the house.

Now returning on the problems of the stay at home mothers, there are quite a few in my society, not many because women usually work outside the house and they have a barrage of nannies and maids to keep the house running full-time. the extended family is not something to be frowned upon, people save a lot of money staying in one house with large spaces (each of us have our own bedrooms except for smaller children, parents usually sleep with smaller children, sex is when you kick them out of the bedroom and lock the door at any other times they wish, night, afternoon, morning). Now things here are very easy compared to the West, there is no frowning if a large family stays in one large house, it's not unheard of, it's welcoming to older parents who wish to be close to their children and their children's families. I've even heard of cases whereby until the parents feel that they wish to move out because of familial reasons (fighting between siblings, extreme lack of space and privacy for instance) and they eventually do - or they don't. Ever. Pooling resources between siblings to buy large tracts of land and build their houses next door to each other (I've seen a whole block of terraces/ semi-detached houses owned by one large extended family too).

The stay at home mother, a phenomenon I do not disagree with especially in some cases done by wealthier women with a secure financial background at times by working class families who do not have the resources to afford nannies or maids. Now the idea of the stay at home mother is an anathema of Asian culture. when women imply they are stay at home mothers or suri-rumahtangga the idea should not be misconstrued in westernized terms, that they do not contribute financially or physically to the well-being of the occupants of a house. Women that I have met who do claim themselves as 'housewives' (such a degenerative term) had their own businesses, worked in the fields or grew crops for sale or house consumption. How does this make the 'suri-rumahtangga' unviable? This is ridiculous. Women do not stay at home, families are interdependent and children are raised together by whole villages at times, by siblings and the relationship between parent and child although something of a 'bond' idea etched by hallmark is something equally fluid in Southeast Asian societies. Sure, a sibling may raise a sister's child if the sister does not have enough resources and the other sister (or relative) do not have any children. The children's loyalties lie with those who raised them not to those who are their biological parents.

So what is this 'stay at home mothers are looked down upon' idea? Sure there has been some stand-offs between Asian/Black feminists versus Western/White feminists. But this is not a culture than can be easily translated - patriarchal. The words and the arguments of patriarchy are the same and yet women enjoy more freedom in terms of who they are than they do in material/sexual culture of the West. Even in Egypt where the stay at home mother is under the thumb of the oppressive patriarchy there are ways in which these women negotiate their existence, the same can be said in extremely patriarchal Indian or Chinese culture. It's simple, sons loyalties plus money go to mother. Not a single cent goes to the father. When the father stops becoming financially viable it is the mother that holds the reins of the houses' finances. To add to this there were also numerous studies concerning Malay culture whereby the wife and the mother holds the husband's purse, leaving him some money for spending on their comforts such as cigarettes or coffee shop trips. And honestly, I too hold my husband's money and when he needs some money he just asks me.

To put it into some perspective concerning highly patriarchal 'Islamic' societies read Fatima Mernissi, that should put some kick in the schlong.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ma Jian's 'The Noodle Maker' and Antonia Fraser's 'Marie Antoinette - The Journey'

I found Ma Jian's The Noodle Maker in the bargain section of Booker for $8.50 (I'm not surprised since I found an early Pramoedya Ananta Toer book there too) And I bought another book by a guy called Bolano (nyo on the n, I don't know how to find spanish letters here) but I haven't gone past a few pages. here's what I have to say about Ma Jian.

I found out that it was written after the Tiananmen Massacre and things are on the brink of change in China as new reforms and attempts towards modernisation are being made. I'm not sure but reading too much feminist blogs have provided me a better insight as to how women and womanhood are perceived towards literature shedding a good light on what is wrong with 'presumptuous culture' (a phrase I think I would like to coin myself).

An excerpt from page 52 of a character called Su Yun.

"They invaded every part of me", she wrote, 'They wanted my chastity, but they didn't respect it. I wanted their love, but they just pulled out their dicks and squirted their sperm over me. They destroyed all my dreams. where can I hope to find love now?...Just because they have stolen my innocence from me, does that mean I must lay myself bare and expose every part of myself to them? Men are no better than dogs. They believe that when they lift their legs to piss, the ground beneath them becomes their territory. If I don't conceal my true nature, how can I satisfy their desire for feminine restraint and refinement?"

And another pg.64

"...what do women matter? they just want a man to lean on, they don't mind who he is. Only friends care about a man's quality. Women are products of their environment. They want to pity the unfortunate and sponge off the rich."

It seemed to me at some point that female characters were sort of two dimensional while male characters were hahaha three dimensional figures capable of feeling and logic at a balanced pose whereas women were driven by their emotional state altogether. Sound familiar? Dumb much?

the proverbial wise male and driven woman is throughout this novel. Although I have to admit that at some point it did provided an insight that well, men are sort of trash but the conversations between the blood donor and the state writer even though both were what in modern standards we could define as 'losers' seem to demean womanhood and women even further under the guise of dark comedy, intellect and wisdom. Seriously?

The other book was about Marie Antoinette, although it did shed much light on her maltreatment by the 'Reign of Terror' by the likes of the Girondins and those guys Marat and Robespierre and the animal mob of Paris and Versailles it did not hint the actual suffering of the people compared to the court. Yes, she was a good royal figure, a symbol or emblem of sovereignty but it seemed to make light of the actual suffering going through by regular people. Well her suffering is nothing short of the shit that went throughout France during that time. Yes, she was a scapegoat but for all the good things she has experienced the common french people had absolutely nothing, what she didn't realize is the extreme feelings that went on among the people in their poverty that made them act like they did. It is a bit royalist propaganda in my head for all its majesty. It was not a bad read, it was allright. The court of Versailles and the Royals were all animals it seemed. Spending without a thought and leaving the people extremely destitute and poor. It didn't even mention the horrors of 'seigneuralism'. Although it had made some valid points, revolution at times rarely helped for the good of the people (except in the case of Thailand's great bloodless revolutions) but I wonder if death and destitution is the answer for change? Surely there are better examples? the French Revolution of course, on the other hand should be a must read for everyone and anyone who has half a brain.